ISSN 2330-717X

Balochi Hindus And Indian Propaganda – OpEd

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Every region has its own dynamics. Its history, culture, norms and social situations may differ from other countries. The people living in the region are accustomed to these norms and cultural values. Nationalism and patriotism are two different things. A patriot can simply be a patriot because of his love for the country. While Nationalism urges one to be in difference with others. National identity varies depending upon to which one is compared. A person is Muslim, when talking to a Hindu, a Pakistan in front of a European, and a Punjabi while talking to a Pashtun. So, nationalism as Amin Maalouf has elaborated in “In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong”, depends upon to which the nationalist is talking. Hindus in India have been living in Balochistan from centuries. Many Hindus were appointed as British officials in Balochistan who witnesses Baloch’s hospitality in their writings. Parvathi Thampi has spent her childhood in Balochistan when her father was appointed as Political Agent in the region 75 years ago. She remembers the good days spent there. 

In every country and regions, there live some majority ethnic groups and some live in minority. Not necessarily this divisions leads to conflict. As Thampi has written her Christian, Muslims and Sikh friends chilling together in Balochistan. Baloch is a hospitable, cultured, and brave nation. Hindus have been living in peace with the Baloch from the very start. They are allowed to worship their religious deities with freedom, to celebrate their religious festivals and Baloch welcomes such cultural harmony. And this was the reason when some Hindus migrated to India at the time of partition, some decided to stay at home. Presently, as per the census 2017, Hindu population in Balochistan has reached to 49,133. Hindus are living in different areas of Balochistan as Sui, Hernai, Dera Murad Jamali and Dera Allah Yar. Moreover, in Chaman also, around 3500-4000 Hindus are living. There are two major temples Hinglaj Mata Mandir and Kalat Kali Temple. Hinglaj Mata Mandir is a Hindu pilgrimage place where 250,000 Yatris participate. 

As I have argued earlier that nationalism depends upon to whom one is compared with. Qambar Baloch, General Secretary of the Europe based Baloch Human Rights Council says that Balochistan is a secular region. People care less concerned about what is the religion of the others. So, people can freely worship their religious faiths and believes. Hindus in Balochistan also enjoys such freedom. When they are not compared with other nationalities whether ethnic or religious, there remains only patriotism. This mutual understanding between Baloch and Hindus troubles Indian who are continuously been trying to create instability in the region and create a sense of Hindu nationalism in Balochi Hindus. Recently Hindus gathered to celebrate Navratri and Indians started to promulgate the act as something done for India by these Hindus against Pakistan, ignoring the fact that these Hindus are Pakistanis, and they are very proud of it. A Twitter handle named Retd. Col. Rajeev Singh tweeted a video with the caption, “Durga Puja on Navratri by Hindu community in Balochistan. Balochistan was wrongly occupied by Pakistan. #navratri2022 #Happynavratri2022”. Other anti-Pakistan groups mostly based in India started retweeting the narrative on social media. Fact Checkers latter revealed that the actual video was posted on Facebook in 2020 with the title, “How Hindus are celebrating Navratri in the mountains of Balochistan.” It reveals the openness of the region and security the minorities are facing in the region. 

Instead of focusing on its own minorities, India is more concerned in destabilizing other neighboring countries especially Pakistan. United States Commission on International religious Freedom report has many a times recommended that India must be put under ‘countries of particular concern’. But US State Department has blatantly ignored the recommendations due to its strategic and political interests. India has carried out massive violations of human rights against religious minorities under the current BJP government. 

Comparatively, Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan by area is very accommodative towards its religious minorities. Various civil and government organizations are working for the welfare of Hindus. Pakistan Hindu Council is one of these organizations. From medical to marriages, the institutions are supporting Hindus in every aspect of life. With more development coming to the province through CPEC, it will bring more economic opportunities for all. Hindus are among the leading business community in Balochistan. CPEC will better their economic and social position more. Their patriotism and nationalism will never be hurt by Indian propaganda. They are proud Pakistani patriot and nationalist. 

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